Recap: Did How I Met Your Mother's Shanghai 'Slappointment' Deliver a Wallop?

How I Met Your Mother Season 9 Recap Slap BetThat sound you heard was How I Met Your Mother delivering the penultimate slap to Barney’s mug on Monday night’s episode.

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The latest chapter in the saga takes the form of a fable that relocates Marshall to a faraway land as he aims to learn The Slap of a Thousand Exploding Suns from three masters who happen to look a lot like his friends.

His year-long quest begins with The Cruel Tutelage of Red Bird (Cobie Smulders, working her Asian costume and makeup). She escorts him to the legendary slapping tree and instructs him to deliver a blow. No problem, right? The tree ends up slapping Marshall instead. But he manages to pass his final test, slapping Red Bird with fiery speed.

Next, comes Lily The Punishing Scholarship of White Flower atop Slap Mountain. She sends Marshall to get slapped by Barney’s conquests (hello, parade of returning guest stars, including Stacy Keibler and Nazanin Boniadi!) so he can harness their anger. That will give him the strength to destroy Barney’s face.

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Finally, he goes to see The Calligrapher in Cleveland. While the previous masters had aspects of Robin and Lily, the latter of who can definitely harness some anger in her “You’re dead to me” stare, The Calligrapher is basically Ted, right down to his quest to find a girl. When he starts to choke, Marshall steps up to save his life. But without having learned accuracy yet, he slaps the heart right out of him. Still, he’s got 10-15 minutes to dispense some wisdom, advise him which Cleveland monuments to visit and make awkward small talk until he finally plays dead just to end their uncomfortable misery.

It all brings us to the wedding weekend, circa Sunday 1 am, when Marshall actually fails to make contact with Barney’s face since he never completed his third lesson. But — smack! — it’s all a ruse; in the woods, in the presence of four women, a willow tree and a “tiger,” Marshall delivers the latest slap in spectacular slow-mo fashion. And there’s still one more!

With that — and an amazing Boyz II Men remix of “You Just Got Slapped” — the distinctly different “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmara” comes to an end after much visual gags, build-up and slappery.

HIMYM fans, what did you think of the episode? How did it compare to the previous Slap Bet outings? And what was your favorite joke? Grade the half-hour via the poll below and then hit the comments to back up your pick.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jessica says:

    Without Boys II Men I wouldn’t have liked the episode at all. Luckily that saved it for me :)

  2. The episode actually produced a couple of chuckles from me. Not nearly on the level of season 1 episodes like Slap Bet, but a marked improvement considering how boring it’s been.

  3. Tony says:

    The book being written by Pai Mei put a smile on my face. Only thing that was missing was a huge fight scene and maybe a Daryl Hannah cameo!

  4. mia says:

    I wish they had let the show go last season.

  5. Amanda says:

    I think this was just a “screw it, this is our final season. Let’s do something ridiculous for fun” episode. I enjoyed a break from the wedding.

    • Goodbye Universe Guy says:

      Yep, I think you have this right – this episode looked more like another ‘long-goodbye’ episode for the cast and crew to simply enjoy themselves – and that’s okay…they’ve earned it. That final scene of the cast dancing in the background as BoysIIMen sing – a bit of a celebratory moment for the cast/crew. It is another ‘check’ off the list of items that needed to get tidied up and completed before the series signs off on March 31st – now we know how the final slap went down. Onward.

      Still, not only do we not get ‘the mother’ in yet another episode, but again, no Ted, almost none at all. Barney again front and center – again. I see the clips for next week’s ‘Unpause’ episode – more Barney. That part I do not understand. NPH is the very good, as is Barney, but his storyline in this series has been told – we still await Ted’s storyline to play out. And we wait. And wait.

      I believe ten episodes left. Next week’s looks like another throw-away. Then we get 9.16, “How Your Mother Met Me” – that one looks very promising. Just eight after that. I’m looking forward to the return of Victoria. That episode should have some real punch – not a slap, but a real jolt for Ted – that one will be worth watching.

  6. Derek Johnson says:

    One of the weakest HIMYM ever. Final season of the show & we get this hackneyed, non-mother story that was just a what-if-they-were-Asian fantasy? There wasn’t even a reason for why Marshall wanted to slap Barney? Give us more mother.

    • Nerwen Aldarion says:

      Why exactly would Marshall “need a reason” to slap Barney? It’s the slap bet, he has a limited number of slaps to deliver and he likes to serve them in an over the top fashion. Just like in Slapsgiving 1 and Slapsgiving 2, in both of those instances the only reason Marshall had to slap Barney was because he wanted to and he could. He doesn’t need a reason to slap him.

      • Laura says:

        Why would Marshall choose the night before Barney’s wedding to slap him? That’s just mean and Marshall comes off as a big jerk. Beyond that this episode was just unfunny.

  7. David H says:

    Apparently, people have forgotten that this is a sitcom. We know that they’ll finish the story by the end of the season. Until then, enjoy the comedy.

    • c-mo says:

      What comedy? This was the least funny episode of the entire season.

    • Brendan says:

      Yeah, it seems like some people have mother tunnel-vision and refuse to let themselves enjoy anything that doesn’t involve her. Their loss, really.

      • Goodbye Universe Guy says:

        I think viewers/fans are enjoying each episode as best they can, but they also see the clock ticking away here. Ten episodes left now (?) I knew that they needed to resolve the slap-bet, and I’m fine with that. However, I thought that the ‘final-slap’ episode would run parallel to another storyline sharing the 1/2 hour. They really devoted the entire episode to just the slap bet; surprising when you see how many other open questions still remain in this series and we’re running the clock down.

        Ten episodes. They’ve got a ton of topics/content/story still left to cover- most of it involving Ted, who has simply disappeared from this series in S9. That to me is very, very odd. The disappearance of Ted from S9 is remarkable.

        Hence, I don’t think it is so much that fans are not enjoying the episodes – it is just that many (including myself) are in somewhat of a state-of-shock as to why Ted has been marginalized [and he has been marginalized] in this final season that is still entitled HIMYM – the ‘I’ meaning Ted. And still, little or no Ted in S9. Puzzling.

        • John 1138 says:

          I happened to listen to one of the HIMYM podcasts and it was an NPH interview where he lauded the production for being so flexible with shooting schedules since everyone is busy doing other things: like they’ll film 10 different bar scenes in a row to stock up…

          It appears the renewal caught people by surprise after they’d all committed to other projects and this is getting shoehorned in as their time allows. So maybe Josh Radnor has a lot going on….

          Hasn’t really shown up in their performances that I see, but the writing this season has been a train wreck, IMHO.

          • Goodbye Universe Guy says:

            Good points – I know the cast has commitments that are in place, or coming soon, so they have to try to do the best they can and wrap things up asap – March, rather than May, etc. I agree and understand.

            The writing has indeed been a heartbreaking disappointment this season- I bet much more so for the cast and crew than we all realize. They know before any of us when the story lines are not working – they know right away, probably at the table reads, and then we all find out much later when the episodes air. I’m still very glad this final S9 took place – the HIMYM cast and crew deserved great recognition for their solid, quiet work over the past nine years – they earned this, including the magazine covers, etc. This S9 helped make all that happen. That’s a good thing.
            I look at who the writers were for each episode this season/S9 (or who got credit as writers); many are still CB/CT, so I don’t know what went wrong. Maybe everyone is just tapped out, and that’s okay – it happens. But in my mind, this S9 was all about Ted – Ted – Ted. The second the writers decided to not go in that direction, it was ‘game over’.
            Josh probably does have projects lined up, but in that case, frankly, I would not have introduced ‘the mother’ at the end of last season. By introducing her, I think it just went along that we’d see flash-forwards of her and Ted together – if for no other reason (although, certainly reason enough), than to help validate her (CM) selection and chemistry with Ted versus viewers/fans wondering if the best Ted would meet in life was Robin or Victoria. Developing that flash-forward duo of Ted-the mother together would help cement that decision. At this point, with ten episodes left, is there still time to do that? If not (and maybe the “How Your Mother Met Me” episode later this month will help cement that Ted-Mother dynamic), then the ghosts of Robin and Victoria will rule the day, and perhaps that’s the way it should be. Either way, we’ll find out by mid/late March.

        • Burnett says:

          Ted has been the least interesting character on the show for several years much like in previous long running sitcoms – Sam Malone, Ross Geller, etc. He has become essentially a straight man
          that ties the group together. The “mother” started as merely a device to hold your attention during Ted’s string of failed relationships and the writers do not know how to fully flesh her out. Adding to the difficulty is the inevitable comparison’s the “mother” would draw to Bay’s wife if and when episodes are focused on her. The show has lasted almost twice as long as the # of years the writers spent together in NYC working on Letterman which was the original inspiration.
          Whatever they have left after that marathon is likely being saved for the last few episodes. marathon.

          • N tTVfiddler says:

            I agree, Ted has become ‘the glue’, the straight man surrounded by the more crazy friends around him. I agree 100% with your assessment of Ross in Friends – there are parallels to him and Ted, and Ross did become the ‘sensible center’ of that show, and that did make his character (akin to Ted’s) a bit harder to write for and keep interesting. And of course, Ross got the prize at the end – Rachel. That won’t be Ted.

            However, I’ll have to disagree with you on the Cheers Sam Malone character. His character was under constant movement and development right to the end. Those last few episodes of Cheers were IMO some of the best. The episode where Sam goes to sex therapy class and has to start confronting his addictions. The episode where Sam goes to the hospital for an operation and rooms with a guy his age, who turns out to have a daughter visit him in the recovery room whom Sam hits on, only to discover the woman is young enough to be his daughter. That last scene of that episode, with Sam stunned at how ‘old’ he has become, as he limps over to the window and stares out as the rain falls down – a dynamite, dark, haunting scene. Somewhat reminiscent of the Farhampton train station scene that we’ve seen glimpses.

            Craig Thomas has mentioned recently that he and CB are looking at various series’ final episodes, including Cheers, to try to find the right tone of how to end HIMYM. Cheers and Sam Malone might indeed be a good measure to gauge where CT/CB might want to take Ted as the series winds down. I’d like the series’ end to have more of an open, unknown feel to it, rather than a happy-happy-happy, all is well end to it. Cheers ended a bit like that – open ended – so did Newhart [mind-bending!]. I think those types of endings tend to stick a bit harder to the memory-bank over time. I’m hoping CT/CB take HIMYM along that same path – take some risks.

  8. Robbie says:

    What was the background music played during the slow-mo slap sequence in the beginning of the show?

  9. GuessWhat says:

    my least favorite ep of the season

  10. twilight123 says:

    I was just about ready to rate this worst episode ever, but then the GLORIOUSNESS THAT WAS BOYZ II MEN HAPPENED!! That 3 minute ending was everything in the world.

  11. neha says:

    I’m going to call it: The worst episode of the series.

  12. Larry says:

    People need to remove the sticks from there behinds this was pretty good, its just TV guys don’t be so serious.

  13. Larry says:

    I mean come on AVE club gave this A- and they tend to be hard on this show

    • Kendall says:


      If you think the AV Club reviewer is tough on the show, then you don’t read any of those reviews. Carter Bays would be more critical of the show than her.

  14. Sam says:

    Slap bet was one stupid part of this show lily was not a fair commish

  15. Mika02 says:

    A. If we are going to get an epi with out the mother this would be it.
    B. I loved this because Barney always exaggerates his stories and puts his friends on edge we finally got the tables turned
    C. We got MacLarens!
    D. I loved the gang consigning Marshals story (Ted: I went backpacking there during college) it was classic HIMYM personality

    I loved it!

    • Mika02 says:

      Forgot to add Boys to men with Barney sitting with the red handmark

      • Ram510 says:

        I agree with all the small gems you point out that made this episode enjoyable. However this episode still felt like obvious filler which is weird since it was a Slapsgiving episode which is never filler. Actually much of this entire season has felt like filler and half hearted. Here’s hoping it gets better.

        • charlotte says:


        • Mika02 says:

          Yes I agree definitely filler but this is probably the only epi all season I agreed with producers to not include the mother. I really do wish they will give us more of her for the rest of the season though.

        • mondaymorning3 says:

          I agree that this season seems like most of the episodes are filler. I understand that they are stretching out a long weekend into a season’s worth of episodes, but I would have rather had a two-parter to end last season at the wedding.

  16. K says:

    I thought it just a dream!!but its reals..bcoz this is too stupid..only barney can exxagerate things!!

  17. Kevin says:

    I agree the episode was highly absurd. A little off, but there were small gems throughout. I chuckled at many of the bar scenes, especially when Lily, Robin and Ted agree with Marshall (“I backpacked there in college” “oh, my god, you had a tree-way?”).

    An A+, no, but a decent episode.

  18. DarkDefender says:

    This should make the Quote of the week: “you had a tree-way?” – Robin

  19. adam says:

    nothing about the cameos, i thought they were awesome.

  20. Eli says:

    I was gonna give this an F, but then Boyz2men showed up and raised to it a D.
    I am so over the whole slapbet thing, it was funny back in season 1-2, but now it just feels obligatory and makes Marshall come off as a very petty and pathetic individual. Worst episode of the season.

  21. Pat says:

    I have watched HIMYM since day one and without a doubt, this one show was just awful. What were the producer’s thinking? I would think that they would want the rest of their shows to go out with a bang, but what did we get from this one, a whole half hour of Marshal and his slapping techniques. EPIC, EPIC FAIL!!!!!

    • Boiler says:

      Agree Pat!! I have loved watching this show but this final season not really cutting it for me. Why the big deal around the mother when she is hardly on??

  22. Ems says:

    I was laughing throughout the whole show! The ridiculousness of the storyline is what made it funny.

    I hope Marshall doesn’t use his final slap on Barney during the wedding or at the reception (if we get to see those parts of the wedding day). That would just be mean. Maybe they will do a time jump at the end of the last episode, and Marshall uses his last slap on Barney then.

  23. cuius says:

    As people feared when it was announced that this season was going to be devoted to “the wedding”, there just hasn’t been enough material for a full season. Pity that what was once a great comedy has now descended into a long drawn-out farewell just relying on the loyalty of viewers from past seasons. Perhaps there is potential for a PhD thesis on determining the optimum number of seasons for a comedy series

  24. Slinc says:

    I too had a…oh boy..what is this…moment, then realized-

    Folks forget this is HIMYM fashion…for example the episode where Ted, Marshall and Lily go to the concert….walk in circles the entire episode to realize the time lapse is only a few minutes…they just ate too much sandwich….It was hilarious!

    HIMYM is a STORY Ted is telling….stories get exagerated for enjoyment…

    I agree, Barney is always elaborating…for Marshall to turn the tables on him and the gang going rite along…PERFECTION.

    The show is over soon, very, very, soon. Let the writers and cast get in their last bits of sillyness. They earned it. We’ve seen the mother, we know they will meet and have their happy ending…lets enjoy the gang a little bit longer.

  25. Bubba says:

    Such a disappointment. The whole season has just been a waste of time. Fork.

  26. rockgolf says:

    If 8-year-olds wrote HIMYM fan-fiction, this is exactly what it would be like. Possibly the worst episode in the series history.

  27. The Ghost of Punchy says:

    This has been the worst season of a television show in a long, long time…if I hadn’t already invested so much of my time in this show, I wouldn’t watch this season at all. What a horrible way for a good show to go out. They had two years to put together this final season and this is what they came up with??

    • katspeakz says:

      This is exactly how I feel. I paused this and almost end deleted it before continuing on at least three times. I’m only watching now for the ending to justify all the hours I’ve already spent on this show. But this episode truly was not worth watching and I didn’t laugh even once.

  28. Mikael says:

    I might have misheard, but didn’t Marshall say “That’s four!” after this slap? I thought this was the final one?

    • Michelle says:

      As Vlada wrote, this was the penultimate slap. Penultimate means next to last. Also, if you go to, it says “One More”.

  29. ConQuistaDor says:

    guys, can someone tell me what is the name of the music or which music song is it!! when Marshall is slapping Barney in slow motion at the end of the episode? just before Boys II Men song ….. thanx

  30. MissMel says:

    I am one of those people who has always said I don’t really care about finding the mother. I enjoy the journey of these characters and the friendship the five of them have. That being said, I am finding this season really boring so far. Last night’s episode would have been my least favorite if it wasn’t for that stupid rhyming episode from a few week’s back. The slaps are funny as part of the bigger picture of an episode, like Slapsgiving, but I found an entire episode about it to be kind of dull.

  31. mondaymorning3 says:

    The HIMYM folks want to be sure we’re good and tired of the dang thing when they’re done with this series. Good grief, they have jumped that shark quite a few times and the season’s only half done.

  32. Maya says:

    This episode was beyond painful. I don’t get these writers at all – yes, this is a fun gag from the show but in the final season, why waste any entire episode on this, especially when they should be exploring Ted actually meeting the mother and spending time with her.

  33. Bob says:

    Wow, most of you haters of this episode just DO NOT get the whole “Ted meets The Mother” thing. This entire season is taking place during the wedding weekend, about 36 hours of time. He doesn’t meet her UNTIL the wedding, so of course they’re not going to have a lot of “mother” episodes before the actual wedding and reception. Just chill out and enjoy the ride for the next two months. Then you won’t have anything to complain about.

  34. tara17 says:

    I found this episode dislappointing.

  35. Josh Emerson says:

    I have to agree that this was a very lackluster episode. And that has nothing to do with the lack of the mother, it just wasn’t funny! The Boys II Men appearance was great though. By far the best part!

  36. Dan says:

    What a rocky season and what a boring episode. The Mother needs more exposure. Her lack of exposure makes me fear the worst about the ending. Are the rumours true? Is future Ted telling the story of how he met his kids dead mother? Cristin deserves better. She deserves to be a big star. Really disappointed with S9 filler like this. The show deserves a better final season. Redemption likely impossible.

  37. LOST says:

    Since I’m from Macedonia and I watch everything later, I often come here and read some of the comments to see if the episode is any good. After reading these comments I thought I was gonna hate the ep, but I loved it.
    I loved how the tables turned on Barney with his story exaggerating all the time.
    Also this episode had me laughing a lot more than previous ones this season. The tree-way, the “Oh this is to slap Barney Stinson, yeah I’ll totally teach you”, Robin and Marshall slapping each other that fast…

  38. Babybop says:

    This season has actually been funny (Barney trying to pick up girls in a trash bag without using the letter E became one of my favorite moments of HIMYM) but this episode was just stupid. Though, I don’t particularly like the episodes dedicated to the slap bet. They aren’t funny to me, it just seems weirdly malicious to take such great pleasure out of slapping one of your best friends in the face, and torturing them with it. The slaps were best when you didn’t see them coming, like when Barney did his stupid play, not when there’s an entire episode dedicated to it.

  39. MTB says:

    Just plain AWFUL! Bring the Mother in already. Get this over with.

  40. Jen says:

    Stupidist episode ever

  41. Shemily says:

    Disappointing end to the slap bet story.
    Still love HIMYM. Everybody has bad days.

  42. Katie says:

    hope next weeks one is better. it looks funny but the preview is very short so idk

  43. Brooke says:

    I have watched older seasons lately and in the slapsgiving 2 episode after marshal slaps Barney he says that’s four. So this slap should have been the final slap. Where did they mess up?

    • David says:

      There is an episode you missed. In “Disaster Averted”, Marshall allowed Barney to stop wearing the ducky tie in exchange for three more slaps. At that point there had only been four. Marshall immediately used two after Barney agreed to the extension. So now there is one left.